The Trump administration is planning to end federal funding for coronavirus testing sites across the country on Friday.
As a result, more than 40 Community-Based Testing Sites (CBTS) in states such as Pennsylvania and Colorado are in danger of, or planning to, shutter their doors.
It comes as models project that the pandemic will peak in the US in just a matter of days – when as much testing as possible is more necessary than ever.
On Friday, the federal government is ending funding for coronavirus testing sites across the US, including at UC Health. Pictured: A health worker carries a biohazard bag at the drive-through coronavirus testing site opened by UCHealth in Colorado Springs, Colorado, March 13
More than 40 of these sites, in states such as Colorado and Pennsylvania, are either in danger of closing or planning to close. Pictured: Empty queues for COVID-19 testing at Elmhurst Medical Center in Queens, New York, April 9
An HHS spokesman said many sites won’t close but are ‘transitioning to state-managed sites.’ Pictured: Cars line up for COVID-19 testing at a drive-through test site in the parking lot of Citizen Bank Park in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 26
‘Many of the CBTS are not closing, but rather transitioning to state-managed sites on or about April 10,’ a spokesperson for the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told NPR.
While the program was intended as a stopgap, many states with inadequate resources have heavily depended on it to test more people.
‘The transition will ensure each state has the flexibility and autonomy to manage and operate testing sites within the needs of their specific community and to prioritize resources where they are needed the most,’ the spokesperson said.
Among the sites that will close is one at Citizens Bank Park, where the MLB team the Philadelphia Phillies play, in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Philly Voice reported that the site focused on testing health care workers and Americans aged 50 and older.
Also in Pennsylvania, the site at Montgomery County, a suburb of Philadelphia, will also permanently close.
‘It has been a very successful site,’ Dr Valerie Arkoosh, chair of the commission in the county, told NPR.
‘We are hoping by the time it closes Friday afternoon that we will have tested a little over 5,000 individuals.
‘I am understandably disappointed that the supplies and federal contract for lab testing is ending just as we are heading into the surge here in southeastern Pennsylvania.’
Many models project that the peak of the coronavirus pandemic is less than a week away. Pictured: Empty queues for COVID-19 testing at Elmhurst Medical Center in Queens, New York, April 9
Another is a site run by UCHealth that prioritized testing healthcare workers, first responders, health care workers and the elderly.
Lisa Powell, El Paso County Public Health emergency preparedness and response program manager, told the Colorado Springs Gazette it was running about 250 tests each day.
Powell said the county is trying to negotiate a deal with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the HHS to keep testing.
In the US, there are more than 435,000 confirmed cases of the virus and more than 14,000 deaths.
Source: Daily Mail | Health News